Developing market equities may have fallen off this year. However, emerging market bonds and related exchange traded funds are outperforming U.S. debt, and they come with more attractive yields.
Year-to-date, the iShares J.P. Morgan USD Emerging Markets Bond ETF (NYSEArca: EMB), which has a 7.25 year duration and a 5.04% 30-day SEC yield, rose 1.6%; PowerShares Emerging Markets Sovereign Debt Portfolio (NYSEArca: PCY), which has a 8.31 year durationa nd a 6.25% 30-day SEC yield, gained 1.6%; and Vanguard Emerging Markets Government Bond ETF (NasdaqGM: VWOB), which has a 6.5 year duration and a 4.63% 30-day SEC yield, returned 2.8%. These bond ETFs track emerging market sovereign and agency debt securities denominated in the U.S. dollar, which helps diminish currency risks. [Investors Turn to Emerging Market Bond ETFs for Higher Yields]
In contrast, the iShares 7-10 Year Treasury Bond ETF (NYSEArca: IEF), which has a duration of 7.65 years and a 2.06% 30-day SEC yield, is up 1.7% so far this year.
Additionally, U.S. dollar-denominated emerging market bond ETFs have also produced some attractive yield opportunities. For instance, the actively managed WisdomTree Emerging Markets Corporate Bond Fund (NasdaqGS: EMCB) has a 5.11 year duration and a 5.22% 30-day SEC yield. The SPDR BofA Merrill Lynch Emerging Markets Corporate Bond ETF (NYSEArca: EMCD) comes with a 5.75 year duration and a 4.75% 30-day SEC yield. The iShares Emerging Markets Corporate Bond ETF (NYSEArca: CEMB) has a 5.29 year duration and a 4.83% 30-day SEC yield. The emerging market corporate bond ETFs mostly include USD-denominated investment-grade quality debt, with about a 20% tilt toward speculative-grade securities. Year-to-date, EMCB was up 0.9%, EMCD was 1.8% higher and CEMB advanced 3.0%.
Meanwhile, the iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF (NYESArca: LQD), which has a 8.13 year duration and a 3.54% 30-day SEC yield, dipped 0.7% so far this year.
Dollar-denominated bonds sold by developing country companies were among the best performers among 10 major global assets with a 3.5% return this year, reports Ya Xie for Bloomberg.
Corporate emerging market bonds outperformed developed market stocks, the S&P 500, U.S. high yield corporate debt, EM-dollar-denominated sovereign bonds, U.S. Treasuries, developed market government bonds, emerging market stocks, EM local-currency government bonds and gold, according to Bloomberg and JPMorgan data.